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G.R. No.

157171
March 14, 2006
Garcia vs. Court of Appeals

Issue:
Whether or not violation of Section 27(b) of Rep. Act No. 6646, classified under mala
in se or mala prohibita.
Whether or not good faith and lack of criminal intent be valid defenses.

Ruling:
No. Generally, mala in se felonies are defined and penalized in the Revised Penal
Code.
When the acts complained of are inherently immoral, they are deemed mala in se,
even if they are punished by a special law.
Electoral Reforms Law is a mala in se crime because it is inherently immoral to
decrease the vote of a candidate.
What is being punished is the intentional decreasing of a candidates votes and not
those arising from errors and mistakes.
Since a violation of this special law is a malum in se, good faith can be raised as a
defense.
Garcias defense of good faith was not proven. Thus, the decreasing of Pimentels
vote was not due to error.
She amenably accepted certain duties, which were not supposed to be hers to
perform. Hence, a clear sign that she facilitated the erroneous entry.

Facts:
About May 11, 1995, which was within the canvassing period during the May 8,
1995 elections, the following:
1. Arsenia B. Garcia Election Officer
2. Herminio R. Romero Municipal Treasurer
3. Renato R. Viray Public School district surpervisor
4. Chairman, Vice Chairman, and Member Secretary of the Municipal Board of
Canvassers of Alaminos, Pangasinan
5. Rachel Palisoc & Francisca De Vera Tabulators
Confederated together and helped each other
They willfully and unlawfully decreased the votes received by senatorial candidate,
Aquilino Q. Pimentel Jr.
From 6,998 to 1,921 as reflected in the Statement of Votes by Precincts with Serial
No. 008423 and Certificate of Canvass with Serial No. 436156 with a difference of
5,077 votes
The RTC acquitted all the accused in a decision dated September 11, 2000, except
Arsenia B. Garcia
Arsenia B. Garcia pronounced GUILTY of the crime defined under RA 6646, Section
27(b) and violation of Election Offense.
Section 27(b) of RA No. 6646 provides:
SEC. 27. Election Offenses.- In addition to the prohibited acts and election offenses
enumerated in Sections 261 and 262 of Batas Pambansa Blg. 881, as amended, the
following shall be guilty of an election offense:

xxx

(b) Any member of the board of election inspectors or board of canvassers who
tampers, increases, or decreases the votes received by a candidate in any election or
any member of the board who refuses, after proper verification and hearing, to
credit the correct votes or deduct such tampered votes.

xxx

Petitioner appealed before the Court of Appeals


The mere decreasing of the votes received by a candidate in an election is already
punishable under the provision
A decrease of 5k is substantial
The instant petition is DENIED. The assailed Decision of the Court of Appeals
sustaining petitioners conviction but increasing the minimum penalty in her
sentence to 1 year instead of 6 months is AFFIRMED.